Menstrual Problems

What are menstrual problems?

Menstrual problems most often occur in women during their menstrual period. Problems with blood flow can include clots, variation in colors, and changes in thickness.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms of PMS include bloating, cramps, diarrhea, tenderness of the breasts, anxiety, depression, headaches, and moodiness. "About 30 to 40 percent of women experience symptoms severe enough to disrupt their lifestyles."*

Dysmenorrhea: Some women experience extremely painful and persistent cramps. If you think you have especially painful cramps, consult your doctor.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): This is an extreme version of PMS. Approximately 3-8% of women have PMDD, and patients say that the disorder significantly interferes with their lives.

Amenorrhea: Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. It refers to when a woman does not get her period for several cycles (usually around three months) or when a girl has not menstruated by the age of 16.

Menorrhagia: This is a disorder that causes prolonged menstrual periods or excessive bleeding.

What is the average length of a menstrual cycle?

The average woman's menstrual cycle is around 28 days long. The average period lasts for three to five days. However, there is a huge variety in duration, symptoms, and flow from woman to woman.

Why did I skip a period?

Skipping a period may be indicative of many different things. Birth control might make some women miss periods. For younger women, it might mean that you are pregnant. Older women might be in perimenopause, and your periods might be shorter or lighter. Additionally, female athletes sometimes skip periods because they are working out so much. Another reason a woman might miss a period is because of extreme stress. If you are consistently skipping periods, talk to your doctor.

What causes menstrual problems?

There are many causes of menstrual problems, including endometriosis, uterine fibroid, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, contraceptive use, cancer, infections, uterine polyps, stress, athletic training, and weight loss/eating disorders (to name a few). If you are concerned about your menstrual problems, talk to your doctor about possible treatments.

What Herbs Or Herbal Formulas May Help With Menstrual Issues? 

Here are five Chinese herbs that are often used to address menstrual issues:

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis): Dong Quai is commonly known as "female ginseng" and is highly valued in Chinese medicine for its benefits on women's health. It is believed to regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate menstrual pain, and promote blood circulation.

Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus): Red Raspberry Leaf is known for its toning and balancing effects on the uterus. It is often used to support overall menstrual health, reduce menstrual cramps, and regulate the menstrual cycle.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus): Chasteberry is frequently used in herbal formulations for menstrual irregularities, particularly in cases of hormonal imbalances such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cycle irregularities. It may help balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms like breast tenderness and mood swings.

White Peony Root (Paeonia lactiflora): White Peony Root is a traditional herb used to regulate menstrual cycles and address conditions such as heavy or irregular periods. It is believed to have a relaxing effect on the muscles and may help reduce menstrual pain.

Chinese Motherwort (Leonurus heterophyllus): Chinese Motherwort is commonly used in Chinese medicine for its benefits on the female reproductive system. It is believed to regulate menstrual flow, reduce menstrual cramps, and support overall menstrual health.

As always, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner or herbalist before using any herbs, as they can interact with medications or have contraindications based on individual health conditions.

How do I lessen my menstrual symptoms?

There are some things you can do to help reduce/ease your menstrual symptoms.

Aromatherapy: Topically applied lavender, sage, and rose oils may help to ease menstrual cramps.

Yoga or Meditation: Participating in yoga or meditation might help promote relaxation and help relieve menstrual cramps.

Have Sex: Some women report that having an orgasm reduces the severity of menstrual cramps.

Heat: Applying heat to your abdominal area or soaking in a hot bath can help to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.